Africa On My Mind

By Dave Keenan

Are you like me when it takes some time to reflect on those BIG moments in life? A significant event happens, and it takes a while for you to sit back and say, “Whoa…that was powerful! What just happened?”.

I returned from my second trip to Africa on Sunday, June 19th (Father’s Day). It takes a week or so to adjust to jet lag, get back on track with schedules, and settle back in to the family’s lifestyle. Then it hits. Like waves. Some small, some big.

  • That first moment when you step back on Zambian soil and smell the charcoal wafting through the air.
  • The greetings of the handshake, traditional – soul – traditional.
  • Entering the classroom on the first day back. “Hello!” you say. As a class responding, “Hello sir! How are you?”
  • Seeing young faces light up when they put their hands, eyes, minds and hearts in books. Books. Children bickering over who gets to hold the new book. Who will read first? “My turn!” Change hands. Eyes glued to the text. Smiles. It’s easy to see the wheels turning in their minds, thinking, wondering.
  • Spending an afternoon with teenagers at a restaurant who don’t understand what a “wrap” is or how to eat it.
  • Having the opportunity to discuss with the same young adults their educational future, when at their home that same talk may never happen. Because sadly, for many Zambian children, after grade seven, there is no educational future.

These are the things I continue to think about and reflect on days after returning home. The work of A to Z Literacy Movement continues to inspire me to be a better teacher and motivates me to make a small difference in a very big world.


One thought on “Africa On My Mind

  1. Dave, thanks for all your hard work and commitment to kids and literacy. All those little differences add up to a big one!

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